A nationwide scheme has been launched to help stamp out prejudice and discrimination in Scotland’s schools.
A new award to recognise efforts of schools in promoting inclusion and diversity has been developed by young people, supported by Action for Children.
The Inclusion and Diversity Charter Mark will be piloted in Edinburgh before being rolled out across the country.
The mark will help schools examine policy, practice and legal obligations on equality for all young people and the charity has created equality indicators for schools so they can mark progress towards recognition.
Pupils will be encouraged to share experiences with each other and help teach the next generation of youngsters to reject prejudice and discrimination.
Labour’s Anas Sarwar, chairman of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia, attended the launch at Broughton High School in Edinburgh.
The MSP said: “Everyday racism can be found in our classrooms and playgrounds across the country, and too many young people in Scotland face bullying and discrimination.
“Teachers play a vital role in changing this culture, but the best lessons for children often come from fellow children, building confidence and better understanding.
“This Charter Mark focuses on pupil-led education and the real-life experiences of pupils, providing support to the next generation so that together we can build a Scotland free of prejudice and discrimination.”
One of the pupils involved in developing the new award, Toqa Abdel Motalab, 16, from Edinburgh, said she felt “our voices were being heard”.
She added: “It was such a special day to think that my work, my experiences and my dedication was going to help other young people who suffer from isolation and racism in Scotland.”
Action for Children Scotland director Paul Carberry said: “We are very proud to be launching the ‘Inclusion and Diversity Charter Mark’ with some of the young people behind creating it.
“We believe this pupil-led award will encourage schools to further develop social justice and inclusion for Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) young people while promoting equality and anti-racist education.
“Furthermore, it will demonstrate to all BAME young people that their school includes and supports them to identify their rights and provides understanding and support to their individual needs.
“Our vision is for schools across Scotland to achieve accreditation against the Inclusion and Diversity Charter Mark for their commitment to promoting the inclusion and identity of all young people.”